Help identifying this old bell??
February 5, 2013 at 8:47 pm #12202
This old bell has a 5″ circumference, 4.5″ tall with a 4.5″ tall wooden handle. The clapper is magnetic but the bell does not seem to be but I do not have a very strong magnet to be sure. It rings very, very loud. Any help? 💡 ?
March 4, 2013 at 5:24 pm #17330flintrocksParticipant
I can’t tell you who made these bells, but I have one that is identical to it except mine is smaller. My bell is 4 inches in dia., both bell and handle are about 3 1/2 inches each, over all height is about 7 1/2 inches. The bell appears to be cast brass, the outside is polished smooth, inside has been turned on a lathe up about 2/3 from mouth of bell to smooth out inside of bell. Bell I have has a 6 stamped on handle about 1/2 inch from top of wood, so yours might have a 5 or 7 on handle. I would guess yours is next size up.
The bell I have belonged to an uncle of mine that I lived with for a short time. He taught school in Ok. in either very late 1800 or very early 1900, This was his school bell. Who knows how long school bells shaped exactly like these were made??????? Sorry I couldn’t tell you more, maybe someone else can tell us more.
March 12, 2013 at 5:31 am #17331
I was so surprised to receive your post. I had all but given up hope that someone would know something about this bell. Guess what, my grandmother, grandfather (of course and their children) came from OK also. I will check on my bell and get back to you with any info re numbers. Is yours very, very loud? Mine is. Just knowing that yours came from OK helps because my deceased mother kept everything from her side of the family and my father’s side of the family, which were from very diverse backgrounds. I had really thought perhaps it came from the other side of the family. Again, thanks so much. I will send a msg ASAP.
March 14, 2013 at 2:36 am #17332GarryParticipant
If you can get a copy of the Donna S Baker “Collectible Bells Treasures of sight and sound” book ISBN 0-7643-0555-7 and turn to page 63 you will see a photo of a collection of classroom school bells, one of which looks remarkably similar to yours!
March 15, 2013 at 6:51 am #17333
Garry, thank you so much for this wonderful information. I have not had a chance yet to look into this as I just received your message. I am very excited to get the book — don’t even have to find out where it is in the book since you even provided the page it is on. Out of curiosity, how is it that you know so much about this bell? I am sure you read the other response from the fellow who also has one but a smaller version that was a school bell in Oklahoma. As I mentioned to him, my mother grew up in OK, so it is likely that is where it came from. All the children attended a one-room school house from first grade on up. They sure knew how to educate back then. My mother was very, very well educated and well read. Not like today. Thanks again for you help. I really appreciate it.
March 15, 2013 at 3:36 pm #17334GarryParticipant
You are most welcome Fran!
The school hand bell is a staple of many collectors. It comes in a variety of forms though the shape / style of yours is by far the most common, so we see a lot of them, even my Brother in law has one similar to yours and he is not a bell collector by any means! As transportation was an issue (no buses or other similar long range transportation) the one room schoolhouse was a staple in both Canada and the USA for many many years. That meant a lot of small schools in rural areas that needed a signaling device (aka bell) to call the students in from various activities. The steeple mounted form is much more expensive so was pretty much reserved for larger schools in bigger communities. The many smaller centers had to make do with a hand-bell, so there were a lot of them. Many retiring teachers were permitted to take their bell with them too – some were even engraved for them. The three base styles I have seen have either what I call the Triangular handle (like yours) or what I call the rolling pin handle (looks sort of like an elongated rain drop) and the doweling handle (looks like a tube). Of course that is only a rough generalization, there are differences in the bell part too, including ones made of iron rather than brass. I can see how the different styles can raise a whole history lesson on their own!
I personally tend to try and collect bells with historical attachments (either representation or were part of history) so I have a couple in my collection as well. Hard to overlook them when they were such an integral part!
Unfortunately the print industry is undergoing a bit of a recession right now, so specialty books like this are getting hard to find. I look in libraries (and in the sales bins at libraries!) as well as on line.
Another good book to get is Elsinor Springer’s “The collector’s book of bells”
Also Donna has a second book out “more collectible bells” that is a good reference.
most of the others I have are more specialized, such as ones on just Glass Bells. I find that pricing catalogs only have limited use, most don’t offer much detail about the object, sometimes not even it’s name, and the prices are only for the local area of the author and get quickly out of date. Good for a very very general price guide but that’s about all.
You have made a great start on a good online source though. The members of this group have a wide and deep knowledge base and are even eager to share. Typically we ask that you start by using the search engine box at the upper right. Try working from general searches to specific and you will often find that the questions have been answered before, sometimes in great detail. Then you can refine your searches from the information you find within the first set of answers.
But also remember in any forum on line, this one and others, that participation is voluntary. We live in an age of instant gratification, I know, but members have lives, work, and family so oddly don’t spend most of their days glued to the computer 😉 ! It may take a day or two for the person with knowledge of your question to see it, then maybe another couple days to do some research (I check notes, books, on line sources, old ABA periodicals (you can sign up for them too!) etc.) before I typically answer. If I see a question I am uncertain of, I will also typically wait to let others have a chance to answer first before I throw my 2 cents in. (Sometimes my 2 cents is only ideas on other areas to consider looking at/for if I don’t know.)
But have fun, remember that collecting is another learning experience. It’s not the object, it’s the knowledge, people, and history behind it that is important!
March 19, 2013 at 11:42 pm #17335sunlanderParticipant
I have dealt with abebooks.com quite successfully in obtaining difficult-to-find books. They seem to be an agency where books for sale by individual booksellers can be ordered. I have found that Donna S Baker’s book as mentioned by Garry is available for $24. A number of booksellers have copies for sale in both new and used condition at various prices, with $24 being the cheapest I found this morning.
I can recommend dealing with abebooks.com for any further searches for books.
Good hunting. Teddy.
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